Over 32% of pregnant women gave birth via cesarean section (C-section) in 2014, according to the most recent study by the Center for Disease Control. This increasingly common procedure allows doctors to deliver a baby through small incisions in the mother’s abdomen and uterus, but is generally only used when there is some danger to the baby or mother that makes natural childbirth too dangerous.
Despite the relative frequency with which C-sections are performed, mistakes are still made, causing injury to either the mother or the child. When this happens, a medical malpractice action may be close behind.
Common Injuries to the Child in C-Section Births
C-sections are often carried out in emergency situations, where either the mother or the child are in danger. Many different factors can combine to cause injuries during C-sections. Common birth injuries include:
- Oxygen deprivation – can occur when a C-section is delayed
- Abrasions, lacerations, scarring – a physician may make an incision too deep, causing injury to the child
- Erb’s Palsy – excessive force against the child’s shoulder area can injure the brachial plexus nerve bundle
- Wrongful death – in extreme circumstances, the doctor’s actions can cause death to the child.
Common Injuries to the Mother in C-Section Births
Just as a C-section can be dangerous for the child, it can sometimes be even more dangerous for the mother. Common C-section injuries to the mother include:
- Hemorrhaging – cutting into the mother can cause excessive blood loss if not managed carefully.
- Infection – can be caused by improperly sterilized tools, gauze left in the mother’s body, and lack of antibiotics.
- Bladder/Bowel Injuries – these organs lie close to the uterus and can be damaged during the C-section process.
- Anesthesia Injuries – can range from too little, which can cause extreme pain to the mother, or too much, which can cause dangerously low blood pressure and death.
- Blood Clots – failure to administer blood-thinning medications can lead to blood clots that can cause permanent damage or death.
Proving a C-Section Medical Malpractice Case
Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor deviates from the established standard of care in the medical community, either through an action or omission, which causes harm to a patient. To prove a medical malpractice case, there are four requirements that must be met:
- The physician owed you a duty to perform your procedure according to the established standards of care in the medical community.
- The physician was negligent and unacceptably deviated from the standard of care.
- Because of this negligence, you or your child were harmed.
- The negligence was the direct and proximate cause of the injuries to you or your child.
What to Do If You or Your Child Were Injured During a C-Section
If you or your child were injured during a C-section and you suspect medical malpractice, contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney immediately. You will want to obtain all medical records prior to talking with the attorney so that he or she can give you the best advice on your case. At Gladstein Law Firm, PLLC our birth injury attorney will research every detail of your unique situation to determine the most effective strategy. Contact us today for a free case evaluation by scheduling online or calling us.